College of Health Sciences

Department of Physical Therapy

The goal of the Department of Physical Therapy is to prepare entry-level practitioners in exercise physiology and in physical therapy. Exercise physiology is the study of acute and chronic physiological responses and adaptations resulting from exercise and physical activity. The undergraduate curriculum is broad based and includes courses in liberal arts, basic sciences (biology, anatomy & physiology, chemistry, physics, biochemistry) and professional courses (exercise physiology, kinesiology, exercise prescription/program planning). The EP curriculum is sequential, comprehensive, and cumulative and prepares students for the capstone practicum in the senior year. Students are assigned to either a cardiac or pulmonary rehabilitation setting, fitness setting or research setting for a semester. While working in the practicum setting, students attend a weekly seminar to discuss issues which arise on practicums.

Why choose the Exercise Physiology program at UMass Lowell?

  • Highly qualified and caring faculty
  • Dedicated students
  • Graduates are competent, polished beginning professionals
  • Career pathway into many graduate programs, including the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the University of Massachusetts Lowell

Career Opportunities

There are numerous career opportunities for graduates of the exercise physiology program. Graduates can work as exercise practitioners (group exercise instructor, personal trainer, strength and conditioning coach) in private or corporate fitness settings or with sport teams. The focus is on improving or maintaining health, fitness, or performance. Graduates can work in sports medicine (the field of medicine dealing with injuries sustained in athletic endeavors and/or illnesses impacting sport performance). Practice settings may include sports medicine clinics or sports training facilities. Graduates can also work as clinical exercise physiologists in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation settings, including hospitals, outpatient clinics, and medically supervised fitness centers. Patients/clients present with cardiac and pulmonary conditions, and may be recovering from surgery or acute hospitalization.

There are no national professional licensing requirements at the present time. Some states do have licensing for exercise physiologists. There is a certification process for health/fitness instructors by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and a separate certification in strength and conditioning by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).

Graduates can pursue graduate study in Exercise Physiology. Advanced degrees in EP (Master’s, Doctorate) prepare individuals for positions as exercise specialists (ACSM certification, NSCA certification) or exercise program directors. Graduate degrees in EP also prepare individuals for research or teaching positions. A Ph.D. is typically required for teaching or research positions in higher education.

Graduates of the exercise physiology program meet all the necessary requirements for application to the University of Massachusetts Lowell Doctor of Physical Therapy Program (DPT). The DPT program is a fully accredited, three-year program designed to prepare entry-level practitioners in physical therapy. It includes 94-96 credits of coursework depending on Pharmacology coursework and 35 weeks of clinical education experience. Students are also well- qualified to enter graduate programs in other health professions including medicine, physician assistant, nursing, occupational therapy, sports nutrition, etc.

Applications to the DPT program at University of Massachusetts Lowell are competitive. Requirements for admission to the graduate program in physical therapy include a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college, an undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better, a GPA in science courses of 3.0 or better, Graduate Record Examination (GRE), documented personal experience in a physical therapy setting and three letters of recommendation.

Admission Requirements

Freshman Entry EP Program
  1. A high school diploma
  2. High school grades of B (3.0) or better
  3. Completion of high school program that is specifically college prep courses which includes English, mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics. It is strongly recommended that incoming freshman take math through pre-calculus or calculus.
  4. Combined SAT scores totaling at least 1,000 (mathematics and verbal)
  5. Evidence of good health through a physical exam that demonstrates the ability of the student to actively participate in all phases of laboratory work.
Freshman Entry DPT/EP program

Students who meet the following qualifications are invited into the DPT/EP program during the admissions process.  Students completing the BS in EP program (4 Years) with an overall and science GPA minimum of 3.4 will continue into the professional (graduate) phase of the DPT program.
  1. A high school diploma.
  2. High school grades of B+ (3.25) or better.
  3. Completion of high school program that is specifically college prep courses which includes English, mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics. It is strongly recommended that incoming freshman take math through pre-calculus or calculus and complete high school physics.
  4. Combined SAT scores totaling at least 1,200 (mathematics and verbal).
  5. Evidence of good health through a physical exam that demonstrates the ability of the student to actively participate in all phases of laboratory work.